Gauteng government meets energy sector to find solution to power crisis

Province wants to get power from other suppliers as quick as possible to end load-shedding, says premier Panyaza Lesufi

16 February 2023 - 14:11
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Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi says the province is gearing up to get electricity from alternative power producers. File photo.
Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi says the province is gearing up to get electricity from alternative power producers. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The Gauteng government has started bringing in all players in the energy space to find a quick solution to the province’s energy needs.

On Thursday, representatives from municipalities, financial institutions and researchers in the energy space met in Bryanston, Johannesburg, to discuss how the province can reduce dependency on Eskom.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on the sidelines of the Gauteng Energy Expo, premier Panyaza Lesufi said the province’s aim was to urgently get power from different sources.

“The plan is to procure the best products available in the market within the shortest possible time. We also want to link up investors with those who have renewable energy projects in the province,” Lesufi said.

“There is overwhelming appetite from government to invest in new generation. Just like the rush to find gold in Gauteng, the new rush is to find a solution to the energy challenge we face.

“At this stage we are building a firm foundation so there can be no load-shedding in Gauteng.”

During the state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the government would appoint an electricity minister in the Presidency to ensure swift implementation of solutions to load-shedding.

The government has also declared load-shedding a national disaster as part of its intervention to gather as many resources as possible to end power cuts that have crippled the economy.

The move comes after Eskom indicated the state of its fleet would entail implementing load-shedding for about two years to safeguard the grid. This angered unions who warned that continuous load-shedding would result in further job losses.

Meanwhile, City Power CEO Tshifularo Mashava said the Johannesburg entity had started a programme to have solar-powered street lights. The initiative is aimed at ensuring that areas remain lit even when Eskom is implementing load-shedding to reduce the risk of crime.

“The project has started ... and will be spread out in the City of Johannesburg. We are looking at areas that are more vulnerable, either through vandalism or those switched off by Eskom and the entire area is dark. We are looking at starting in areas around university campuses ... We want those areas well-lit so criminals cannot attack our students. The first will be switched on in March,” Mashava said.

TimesLIVE

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